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DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Armed with rapier wits, they breached security

Published: Thu, August 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

I was seated inside Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with my son Josh, waiting for a plane to arrive, when I noticed a poster-sized sign at the security check entrance.
On it was a drawing of a bomb -- one of those funny Pink Panther cartoon ones that looks like a cannonball with a sparking wick. It had a bold X through it. Next to that picture was one of a revolver, similarly X-ed out. And next to these was another of scissors and another of a dagger, each of which also had bold Xs atop them.
Above the four icons was the admonition -- "Prohibited Items."
I kid you not.
Now, jet lag may do funny things to you, but is anyone THAT stupid?
In fact, the list that followed the drawings was SO funny (and obvious), that I wrote down every entry. And I promise you -- I am accurately quoting ...
Don't bring these
"Prohibited Items, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. For everyone's security, you may not bring any of the following items beyond this point:
Automatic weapons
Baseball bats
BB guns
Billie clubs
Black jacks
Blasting caps
Bows and arrows
Brass knuckles
Bull whips
Cattle prods
Compressed air guns
Cricket bats
Crow bars
Disabling chemicals or gasses
Flare pistols
Gun powder
Hand grenades
Hockey sticks
Hunting knives
Ice axe/ice picks
Knives (any length)
Large heavy tools
Mace [Josh wondered if they meant the spray or the medieval weapon...]
Meat cleavers
Pellet guns
Pepper spray [leading Josh to believe they DID mean the medieval weapon]
Plastic explosives
Pool cues
Portable power saws
Shot guns
Speargun [Josh assumes this is for whalers]
Tear gas
Throwing stars
Toy transformer robots"
The image of a traveler with a prohibited item suddenly flummoxed by the sign, groaning, "Hey, if someone had just TOLD me hand grenades were prohibited ..." is too much for me.
But the last two lines on the poster cleared things up ... "If you are carrying any of these items, you may:
UTalk to your airline representative about checking the item or
UReturn the item to your car."
Excuse me, sir, may I leave these hand grenades with you until my return flight?
Are these OK?
Josh and I had a great time laughing about the likelihood of that. But we sobered up quickly when we began to brainstorm what had been omitted from the list!
For heaven's sake, what if some travelers unknowingly brought any of the following on board?!:
Land mine
Mortar shell
Radial arm saw
Heat seeking missile launcher
Amphibious vehicle
Sherman tank
Smallpox virus
Nuclear submarine
Osama bin Laden
Saddam Hussein

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